Jim Shipman

01423 772735

Embroiderer’s Guild: the next meeting of the Nidderdale branch will be held on Saturday, April 20 and will be a workshop from 10am-4pm. The theme will be Precious Books with Wyn Ingram, and held in Birstwith Church Hall with visitors and new members most welcome. For further information please contact Mrs Maureen Robinson on 01423 880597 or visit our web site at

Beetle Drive: this will be held in St James’s Church Hall on Friday, April 26 at 7pm. Entry will be £5 including a hot meal (£3.50 children). Please bring your own drinks, with the evening in aid of church funds and carers’ time out.

Birstwith Walks: the morning walk on Saturday, April 27 will start from the village shop at 10am and go via field paths through Felliscliffe to arrive at Knabs Ridge and the wind farm then returning on paths to the west of Kettlesing, then Sleights Farm and Swarcliffe Top. About 6.5 miles. The afternoon walk will leave the village shop at 2pm and go via field paths through Hardcastle Garth and Throstle Nest then to the trig point on Hartwith Hill returning via Cow Close, South Wood and Winsley to finish at the Station. About 7.5 miles. The walks will be at a pace to suit those taking part. You can do both or only the morning or the afternoon walk. If you bring dogs you must keep them under control. You will need clothing and footwear appropriate to the weather and possibly something to drink and eat along the way. For more details please contact Adrian Dixon on 01423 770116 or 0771 618 7621 or e-mail

Luncheon Club: please note that the next luncheon club is on Tuesday, April 23. This is a week later due to the school holidays. As usual please let Brenda (01423 770409), Thelma (01423 770891) or me know as soon as you know you are unable to attend. Thanks to those who already have. I realise that it is not always possible to avoid cancelling at the last moment but with 47 people on the books, I am reluctant to accept guests until I have a cancellation. At March’s lunch we served 39 people, but we were all sad at the sight of the empty seat left by Kate. She had always been a keen supporter of lunch club, had a good appetite and always generous in her praise of the effort made by others. Elaine Burge (01423 770274).

Ian Paxton and Kate Clarkson: in the short space of a few weeks and within the last month, we have lost two of the dearest members of our community. Their contribution to holy week alone was legendary. Ian first came to Birstwith as a reader on an occasional basis many years ago, but it was during the ministry of Rev Wendy Wilby, and at her instigation, that he was officially appointed reader attached to our parish. Since that time he, along with the stirling support of his wife Rosemary, has made an inestimable contribution and commitment to our worshipping life. As reader, he took part in and often led countless services of all kinds and, if he was not officiating, would invariably be in the congregation with Rosemary present at his side. To us in Birstwith, Ian’s personality seemed quite reserved but when you add his other wider talents from life beyond St James’s as an ex-Spitfire and jet fighter pilot, brilliant structural engineer, successful business-man as well as much loved father and grandfather, supporter of the Focolare Movement and CMS, we come to see what a loss we all have suffered in his passing. Those present and represented at his funeral service were indeed proof of this. Kate spent more than half her long life of 96 years in Birstwith, she and her late husband David arrived in Nidderdale in 1963 and settled into Nidd Drive in 1964. She was born Kate Fahy in Co Mayo, Eire in 1917 but came to England to train as a nurse in Manchester in 1939, and later as a midwife in Nottingham, where she met David. It was as a district nurse she came to Yorkshire, along with her black Ford Popular and black bike with basket, and was soon seen around the Dale in her professional capacity where her midwifery skills were much in demand. this, of course, is just the background to Kate’s contribution to the Birstwith community. She and David were involved from the start with the BHS Show and St James’s activities. Like Ian, Kate’s reserved personality belied her underlying strengths. She was an avid reader of news and events, her mind remaining pin-sharp until her very last days. Her judgement of character was shrewd and she well knew most of the strengths and weaknesses of those around her. A raised eyebrow or a wry smile told you all you needed to know as to what she thought about so-and-so or this-and-that. Her house always open to all - a welcome assured “come in, come in”. It has been a privilege to know both Ian and Kate and we are keenly aware, through our own involvement with the church and village communities, what a blessing it is to have had them as role models for ourselves and our families.